Friday, March 27, 2009

Screw Job

State unemployment figures are out from the Labor Department for February. They are pretty grim. Seven states are now into double digit unemployment:
  • Michigan, 12.0%
  • South Carolina, 11.0%
  • Oregon, 10.8%
  • North Carolina, 10.7%
  • California, 10.5%
  • Rhode Island, 10.5%
  • Nevada, 10.1%
DC is on the edge with 9.9% and seven more states are between 9 and 10%. Seven more states are between 8 and 9%. If the national U-3 average goes up to 10%, there's a very good chance that you'll be looking at twenty-one states plus DC in double digit unemployment.

U-6 numbers for all those states? Since these seven states range from 2% to 3.9% over the national U-3 average of 8.1%, and the U-6 is 14.8% (and you add 60% to the previous spread to reflect the current 60% increase in the difference between U-3 and U-6 over the last 12 months) that means the U-6 numbers are estimated for these states to be between 3.2% and 6.3% higher than the national 14.8% U-6 average, by this method.

That's putting the U-6 range estimation for these states being 18.0% for Nevada on the low end (14.8% + 3.2%) and a staggering 21.1% for Michigan on the high end (14.8% + 6.3%).

That's frightening. Michigan would be the only 20% plus U-6 state in my estimation right now, but SC would be close at 19.5% (14.8+ 4.7%). It will not take long at all for Michigan to hit 25% on the U-6.

Not long at all. Now, these are just back-of-the-napkin numbers, but remember, 25% U-6 is Depression era level "real" unemployment. Michigan is almost there now.

Heavy, Neck-Based Millstone Is Heavy

Ol' Mitch McConnell declares that now that Dubya is gone, the GOP is going to win!
"President Bush had become extremely unpopular, and politically he was sort of a millstone around our necks in both '06 and '08," McConnell told reporters Friday. "We now have the opportunity to be on offense, offer our own ideas and we will win some."
Yep, you're free of the Dubya millstone there, Mitchie.

Now all you have to worry about is the Michael Steele millstone and the Dick Cheney millstone and the Michele Bachmann millstone and the Jim Bunning millstone and the John Boehner millstone and the BIG FAT GIANT RUSH LIMBAUGH MOUNTAIN around your necks.

In Which Matt Taibbi Runs With It

Matt Taibbi vs. Jake DeSantis:

No contest whatsoever.
Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday's New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano's toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn't even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn't, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

I was a lot nicer, for the record...which is why I'm not getting paid the big bucks for being Rolling Stone's political reporter. DeSantis was an executive VP in a firm of 400. He knew exactly what was going on. Period. If he didn't know, he was simply an incompetent twit instead of a greedy asshole.

Like I've said, you want to absolve yourself, Jake? Treasury and your country needs your "expertise".

The Woman Is Crazy

Michele Bachmann has officially lost her mind on Sean Hannity's radio show.
"At this point the American people - it's like Thomas Jefferson said, a revolution every now and then is a good thing. We are at the point, Sean, of revolution. And by that, what I mean, an orderly revolution -- where the people of this country wake up get up and make a decision that this is not going to happen on their watch. It won't be our children and grandchildren that are in debt. It is we who are in debt, we who will be bankrupting this country, inside of ten years, if we don't get a grip. And we can't let the Democrats achieve their ends any longer."
It gets worse from there.

She is certifiably insane.

[UPDATE] And now she's gone on from Hannity the Manatee's show got it...THE DOOM BUNKER.
Michele Bachmann was recently on Glenn Beck’s radio show, so that two of the right-wing’s most prominent nutters could talk, inaccurately, about currency issues:

BACHMANN: Let me tell you, there’s something that’s happening this week in Congress that could be the eventual unravelling for our freedom, and it’s this. I had asked the Treasury Secretary and Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chair, if they would categorically denounce–

BECK: I know.

BACHMANN: –taking the United States off of the dollar and putting us on an international global currency. Because as you know, Russia, China, Brazil, India, South Africa, many national have lined up now and called for an international currency, a One World currency. And they want to get off the dollar as the reserve currency.

BECK: Most people don’t understand what that means.

Here, for once, Beck is on the money.
As Iggy puts it, "Keep in mind that these aren’t just two weirdos hiding out in a cabin somewhere. Beck has a show on a major cable news network and Bachmann has a seat in congress." And yet we're talking about a member on Congress that is so far out of line and off her rocker it's breathtaking. Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul are totally out there as far as Congressmen go but they make an awful lot of sense every once in a while, and they are both very intelligent people. Bachmann on the other hand is a complete nutjob who seems to be incapable of learning anything.

The worst part of all this is that there really is a danger should China or the EU or the UN ever really get serious about dumping the US dollar as world reserve currency, which is a completely different problem than the lunacy Bachmann is spouting.

Bonus verbatim Bachmann:
Well, Glenn, I have experienced that throughout my political career being labeled a kook.
Well damn, I wonder why that is?

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Aaron Task at YTT asks:
Are Bonus Restrictions Driving Top Talent Overseas?
Depends. Are we talking about the same "top talent" that crashed our entire economy into the ground? If that's true, then good riddance to bad rubbish. But he goes on:
But there actually is some truth to the we have to pay our top people outlandish salaries argument, says Mark DeCambre, Wall Street reporter for The New York Post.

Relatively strong European firms like Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank are in a hiring mode, he says, as are smaller shops like Jefferies Group, hedge funds and boutiques like Greenhill and Moelis & Co.

In other words, there's always a market for top talent, whom DeCambre likens to a star pitcher or slugger on a baseball team. The team may have a strong bench, but isn't going very far without its top players.

So be it, you might say - but all those bailout billions will most definitely go to waste if the recipients can't compete in the global marketplace.
I'm thinking I'm not going to want to choose to do business with the company that lost tens of billions of dollars anyway, because I have every reason to believe the company's "top talent" -- the same people they are paying "outlandish salaries" to retain -- are not the people I want to give my money to. In fact, we now have empirical evidence that the "top talent" of the companies in question are greedy douchebags who drove their companies into near insolvency.

Bonus restrictions driving these idiots overseas may be the smartest thing America has done in years. They can't compete in the marketplace which case let's nationalize the insolvent sacks of crap and break them up.

Problem solved. Hey Aaron, let's stop pretending that the Captains of Industry were innocent here.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Bloomberg Headline: "Obama Seeks JPMorgan, Goldman Support on Bank Plan".

Shouldn't this be reading "Insolvent Banks Fall All Over Selves To Do Exactly What Obama Tells Them"?

Isn't the fact the story is nowhere near that idea the major problem right now?

Today's Culprit In The Village Game Of Clue Is:

CNN's Ruben Navarette, in the Conservatory, with "The President is trying to do too much!" Concern Trolling.

Eventually this tack of using the "He can't chew gum and walk at the same time" meme is going to devolve into outright attacks on Obama's competence and intelligence...and from there it's not too far to the ol' Racism Express.

Let's Budgetize This Thing!

Some more details are leaking out on the GOP's completely insane budget plan, and "insanity" is a really, really good term for it.
How do Republicans propose to control future deficits? First, they would end a litany of controversial programs of doubtful value to the public:

International organizations and foreign aid recipients, including millions for reconstruction in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Labor union bosses participating in a new “green jobs” program. The National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Americorps, Title X Family Planning, and a host of spending programs that will do nothing to help our economy recover. And even community organizers, such as ACORN, performing “neighborhood stabilization.” Hundreds of programs deemed ineffective by prior Administrations...

That's the easy part. Unfortunately, these programs, no matter how unworthy, barely scratch the surface when it comes to saving money. There is a lot more money to be found in undoing a large part of what has been done this year:

Republicans propose to undo the recent reckless and wasteful Democrat spending binge included in the so-called “stimulus” and omnibus bills.

What does this mean? For one thing, as Minority Leader John Boehner (R) said in a conference call yesterday, it would replace the $410 billion omnibus bill with a spending freeze for the rest of fiscal 2009. That takes care of normal appropriations and saves about $30 billion. As for the stimulus package, it is less clear how much of the roughly $250 billion in refundable tax-credits and the $500 billion in direct spending would disappear — probably about half, along the lines of the GOP alternative that was proposed at the time.

So yeah, take away half the stimulus and the $410 in the omnibus bill. Eliminate all the programs Republicans hate. Throw in a massive tax cut for the wealthy. Freeze all other spending during a depressionary cycle.

Complete the transfer of America's remaining wealth and power to Republican interests. Leave tens of millions of Americans in abject poverty as consumer spending dries up and unemployment explodes. Remove the safety net for millions of American families. Continue to destroy the environment and enrich corporations -- the only entities that matter to Republicans. Scold the rest of America for the social sin of being poor.

This is what we avoided when we elected Obama instead of McCain. Never forget that. Republicans still want to ravage America and will do so given any chance to do so.

They must never be given the chance.


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